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Lee v. Lugg

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

April 20, 2017

TAMMY LEE individually and on behalf of LEE COMMUNICATIONS, INC. Plaintiff
v.
RICHARD H. LUGG Defendant

          Attorney For defendant: John branson Esq.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          A. M. HORTON, JUSTICE.

         This case came before the court for trial April 18, 2017. Plaintiff Tammy Lee represented herself and Defendant Richard Lugg was represented by John Branson, Esq. Both parties presented their own testimony and offered exhibits into evidence.

         At the close of the Plaintiffs case-in-chief, Defendant Lugg made an oral motion for judgment that the court took under advisement. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is hereby denied.

         Based on the entire record, the court hereby makes and adopts the following findings of fact and conclusions of law and renders judgment as set forth below.

         1. Plaintiff Tammy Lee is a former resident of Maine and current resident of California who has worked since 1999 as a public relations and communications professional, and has an extensive history of working on significant projects for major clients. In 2003, she moved to Maine, and in 2004, she incorporated her business by forming a Maine corporation called Lee Communications, Inc. Although the business had several employees during the early 2000's, Ms. Lee herself was the principal employee as of 2008. In that year, she went through a divorce and was in the process of selling the oceanfront home she and her former husband had built.

         2. Defendant Richard H. Lugg is a resident of Maine with experience in the aviation industry. At all pertinent times, Mr. Lugg has been chief executive officer of a Delaware corporation called SonicBlue Aerospace, Inc. [SonicBlue].

         3. Since at least 2008, Mr. Lugg's focus through SonicBlue has been on promoting the development of a high-efficiency hybrid jet engine, and specifically on raising capital from various sources to fund the project. At some point during or before 2008, SonicBlue was awarded a Maine Technology grant and Mr. Lugg began recruiting a group of professionals in various fields to move the project forward.

         4. Mr. Lugg's vision for SonicBlue was grand, if not grandiose. In an e-mail message, Mr. Lugg described SonicBlue as

a company that is going to bring a sea change to the aerospace propulsion industry with an engine (we do not have to know exactly what type, class size, etc.) . . . but we must express the picture to the world, and specifically investors, that we are the innovators, that we have the core technologies to do it (superconducting, magnetic bearings, electric segmentation, electric Brayton cycle) and most importantly we have the Team (or the very beginnings of a Team) ... we are really founding the dream Team. We are going to build ourselves up over time as we raise the capital to be the experts we need to be to get the job done.
Plaintiffs Ex. 2 (e-mail message Richard Lugg to Tammy Lee (Dec. 7. 2008)).

         5. As the quoted message suggests, SonicBlue's emphasis in 2008 was on raising capital for its project, which existed only in concept as a "new, next generation subsonic, transonic, supersonic and/or hypersonic hybrid jet-electric turbine engine design and prototype." See Defendant's Ex. 1 at 1. In late 2008, SonicBlue representatives were traveling to trade shows and other aerospace industry events to make connections with potential investors and others.

         6. Although SonicBlue was seeking investors in a variety of ways, the primary target was an investor (or investor group) in Dubai who apparently had expressed a willingness to consider investing several hundred million dollars in SonicBlue.

         7. Tammy Lee was introduced to Mr. Lugg by a mutual friend in 2008. They began corresponding in October 2008, and soon Mr. Lugg asked her to submit a proposal for consulting services. She did so in November 2008. She was recruited onto the SonicBlue team by Mr. Lugg to perform public relations, communications and similar functions, ...


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